|Musical Style: Metal/Hard Rock||Produced By: Paul May & Paul Hodson|
|Record Label: Nu Life||Country Of Origin:|
|Year Released: 1994||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 10||Rating: 80%|
|Running Time: 44:37|
Get Real by A.N.D. ranks with the many obscure Christian metal releases to come out of the mid-nineties that failed to get the time and attention they deserved. However, when one stops to consider the era in which Get Real was released, it becomes obvious the blend of classic metal, melodic metal and straightforward hard rock delivered by A.N.D. might not be considered, well, flavor of the month. And by no means is that a band thing in light of the quality music here. With an eighties influenced sound certain to appeal to those into Barren Cross, Saint, Bloodgood, Letter 7 and Mad Max, A.N.D. gives prominence to a more than fair share of guitar driven muscle and just the right amount of notable hooks and melodies to pull you in. And nowhere is that more evident than up-tempo hard rockers “Babylon” and “The Day” in addition to the heavier classic metal influenced sounds of “King” and “Overdrive”. A straightforward hard rock – almost bluesy – direction is taken on “For Sale” and “The Way” (fans of Rez Band will get into these two) but when A.N.D. chooses to mellow things out, such as the laid back ballad “Young Man” and the atmospheric acoustic laced “Touch The Sky”, it can put together a quality composition as well.
A.N.D. is fronted by vocalist and lead guitarist Paul May. Bringing a raspy and even mid-octave vocal style, May does not quite posses the range and power of contemporaries Mike Lee (Barren Cross), Les Carlson (Bloodgood) or Josh Kramer (Saint). And that is where the problem lies. Despite putting forth an all around solid showing, May has his limitations vocal wise, reflected in several shaky and unsettled moments found throughout the project. It is in the area of lead guitar, on the other hand, that May shines. Proving quite the talented player, he delivers an abundance of flashy and at times bluesy lead guitar work. Just check out his fiery soloing on “King” and “Babylon” or the grittier direction taken on “For Sale” and “The Way”. “Overdrive”, a track which is half instrumental, gives him the opportunity to showcase his abilities as well. It is worth noting that guitarist John Wylde is given credit as being part of the band in the liner notes but did not perform on the album. Bassist Mick Ponter and drummer Lance Blackwood round out the rhythm section.
While production values are competent in allowing for sonics of a crisp and clean sounding nature, I cannot help but think the low end could have come across heavier and the rhythm guitar beefed up in places. Still, nothing detracting here.
Lyrically, Get Real can best be described as a boldly Christian effort in addressing topics ranging from TV preachers, the day of judgment and need for salvation.
“King” gets underway to a bass guitar solo before a hammering guitar riff takes over the mix. The song proceeds to advance through its first and second verse in driving fashion as the person of Christ is portrayed:
King of Kings and Lord of Lords
The mighty Living Word
Crowned with many thorns
Every eye shall see the King of Truth return
Bringing judgement to the kingdoms of the earth
He is glory, He is sovereign, He is Lord
After tapering off for a passage carried by pronounced spoken word delivery, “King” closes out its final thirty seconds to an instrumental section shored up by a blazing guitar solo.
The hard rocking momentum is maintained on the catchy “Babylon”. Impelled at an upbeat tempo its full length by a double bass driven riff, this one proves quite the energetic number that would do Barren Cross or Sacred Warrior proud. As a matter of fact, the raw feel to the songs delivery almost brings to mind “Dead Lock” (off Barren Cross’ sophomore outing Atomic Arena) while the double bass action has Tony Velazquez (Sacred Warrior) written all over it.
“For Sale” is a gritty Rez Band style hard rocker. The song proceeds through its verse portions to a heavy duty bass line as the rhythm guitar crashes in and out of the mix. Upon reaching its sharp sounding chorus, however, the rhythm guitar moves to an unwavering place in the mix. Another example of razor sharp lead work (kind of reminds me of Stevie Ray Vaughan) helps put “For Sale” over the top. The message here deals with TV preachers:
I saw a T.V. preacher talk like a movie star
He got revelation for all major credit cards
His bible bankbook sold direct mail
Will have you paying down the nail
And the man said
We’ve got love for sale, to satisfy your needs.
“Under Law” begins quietly before taking off to a quickly moving guitar riff. Tapering off to a forward wall of rhythm guitar upon reaching its first verse, the song picks up in pace for a smooth sounding chorus reinforced by vocal harmonies. “Under Law” is a song of faith:
Now I’m not living under law, I’m living free
I’m not living under law, it’s the life I lead
Live by faith and not observation
For faith is justified
“Young Man” slowly and calmly drifts ahead in a laid back manner from the start, the compelling melody imbued only serving to enhance the tranquil scene. As the song reaches its three minute mark, the rhythm guitar abruptly crashes into the mix and carries things to their close with an abundance of driving momentum.
The aptly titled “Overdrive” is an aggressive piece with some guitar riffs reminiscent to Saint. The song commences to a drum solo before storming ahead to a deluge of rhythm guitar, peaking as it picks up in pace for a catchy chorus pointing to the One true Light:
How many hearts are crying out for life?
How many souls are walking, to the Light
Reach to the true direction, to the Christ
Or this world will bury you alive, in its overdrive
Some of the albums finest moments take place as “Overdrive” closes out its final two and a half minutes in instrumental fashion (plenty of tasteful lead work provided by May and Wylde). Great song.
“The Day” storms out of the gate at an upbeat tempo to a swell of rollicking double bass, the dogged environment upheld for a brief but resonant chorus backed by a hammering rhythm guitar. Fast and energetic but catchy, this one brings to mind Sacred Warrior’s “Children Of Light” (off Rebellion) with its non-stop work on double bass. “The Day” is aptly named:
Justice and judgment will sound
On the day of the Lord
Watch for the day, soon is the day
I might describe “The Way” as boogie flavored hard rock (there is a real seventies feel here) with a blues based edge. Beginning its first minute to a guitar driven instrumental section, the song moves through its first and second verse as May’s raspy voice trades off with a gritty rhythm guitar. The fleeting chorus that follows presents a simple but straightforward message:
Jesus is the Way, He is the life
The Truth today, The Spirit here inside
The Way, the Truth, the Life
The laid back ballad “This Child” is upheld its distance by a pleasing amalgamation of acoustic guitar and harmonica. Very nice melody and lyrical direction as well:
When I call Your name, You fill me again
This child not the same, My Father, My Friend
This means forever, You are my guiding Light
My walk on water, Holy Spirit of Christ
A.N.D. saves one of its best for last with the atmospheric sounds of “Touch The Sky”. The albums longest piece at just under nine minutes, the song slowly moves through its verse portions to a gentle melding of acoustic guitar and guitar feedback. As its aesthetically pleasing chorus is procured, however, “Touch The Sky” picks up the pace as the rhythm guitar steps forward with just the right amount of edge. All the while the scene is decorated by just the right amount of technical lead guitar work. Beautiful song.
Get Real proves quite the consistent effort in that all ten of its songs hold up under repeated play. Yes, there is a bit of variety here – including classic metal, hard rock and acoustic pieces – but the strength of the songwriting puts things over the top. The quality lead guitar work is another positive worth emphasizing. On the other hand, the area of lead vocals, while far from bad, might have potentially prevented the band from reaching great long term acclaim. And long term, unfortunately, proves the key word here in that following Get Real A.N.D. was never heard from again.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “King” (3:05), “Babylon” (4:22), “For Sale” (4:05), “Under Law” (3:58), “Young Man” (4:39), “Overdrive” (4:00), “The Day” (3:09), “The Way” (3:45), “This Child” (4:51), “Touch The Sky” (8:43)
Paul May – Lead Vocals & Guitars
John Wylde – Guitars
Mick Ponter – Bass
Lance Blackwood – Drums
Pete Emms – Bass
Paul Hodson – Keyboards
Roly Bell - Harmonica